April 2005

More on Hashes

Since I last wrote about the problem with hashes, there has been a fair bit of activity and some progress:

  • An internet draft is available describing the nature of the attacks on hash functions, and how different internet applications are affected.
  • According to the OpenSSL changes file, additional hash algorithms are going to be supported in version 0.9.8. There is no indication of a date for that release, though.
  • Don Eastlake's internet draft on Additional XML Security Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) has progressed to its final status as RFC4051.

I have updated my previous article to reflect this.

[Updated 20051030 with latest URL for the Hoffman draft.]

April Again

Every year on the first of April, it has become the tradition for one or more dodgy RFCs to be published with little or no fanfare. Who can forget 1990's seminal Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers involving pigeons and duct tape? Or 1993's Extension of MIME Content-Types to a New Medium in which the matter-transport/sentient-life-form MIME type was first defined?

This year's first candidate describes Requirements for Morality Sections in Routing Area Drafts. This is pretty obvious stuff, dealing with the moral degeneracy brought about by the internet and the necessity of combating this through appropriate moral strictures in all future internet standards documents. Best laugh:

3.2.2. Jumbo Packets
It is no longer appropriate to refer to "jumbo packets". Please use
the term "capacitorially challenged".

… although I'd have assumed they would prefer to be referred to as "capacitorially enhanced" myself.

Perhaps less obvious is UTF-9 and UTF-18 Efficient Transformation Formats of Unicode, which would be less funny if it were not an apparently sound technical specification. Admittedly the class of machines (also 9, 15) for which the technical innovation would be interesting is now all but extinct. Thoughtfully, the author provides example PDP-10 assembler code for the encoding and decoding process for those of us who still remember these works of art, and still have assembler manuals gathering dust on our shelves.